Software Engineers: Remote or Onsite? Which One Should You Hire?

Developer woman working with computers

2020 is the year when the barriers to remote work got broken down, all thanks to Coronavirus. Still, the truth is that companies who had been refusing to consider working from home, even occasionally, are now finding that distributed teams work really well. Even so, the debate of remote vs in-office software engineer is still being had.

If you’re advocating for continued remote work and you’re wondering whether your next technical hire should be based in the same office, work from home, or come from another continent, then here are some of the reasons we’re so sure remote software engineers are the right choice for your business.

1. Increased Productivity

Remote developers are more productive. This is one of the longest standing claims around remote working, and while many attempts have been made to debunk it, as recently as last year a Stanford Study showed, ‘astonishing’ productivity boosts from remote workers.

This productivity comes from several factors; the life of a remote software engineer doesn’t consist of hours of commute. When they come to sit at their desk to start work, they’re feeling fresh and ready to work, not aching, with high blood pressure, and a festering grudge against the guy who cut them up on the freeway.

Working from home can also mean being given the freedom to set your own working hours, and that lets you work when you’re most fruitful, whether that’s getting up with the sparrows or going to bed with the owls. Then there’s the issue of work creep – while it’s not something you want to encourage in your team, the fact is, it’s much easier to spend an extra half hour finishing something up on a Saturday morning if you can do it from home.

2. Fewer Sick Days

We’ve all had an object lesson in why working from home vs working in an office is preferable when you’re sick. Staying at home to work if you’re unwell is the best idea when any kind of infectious disease is doing the rounds, even if it’s ‘only’ a summer cold or a winter D&V bug.

Staff who work from home full time tend to ‘call in sick’ less. It’s not hard to imagine why. When you’re feeling ill, the thought of getting up, dressed, driving to work, and then putting in your usual 8+ hours is exhausting. But if you all had to do was boot up your laptop and grab some honey and lemon? You could probably power through.

It isn’t just employee sickness that remote working accommodates, though. If parents need someone to stay home with sick children, or elderly parents, then working from home gives them the capacity to do their job while still meeting their family obligations.

3. Increased Employee Retention

Is the respect for work/life balance that gives remote companies their boost in employee retention. Although it’s not technically a perk, working from home (even if it’s only part-time) is something that as many as 90% of people want to be able to do. If you offer remote work as part of your package, that’s one way to set yourself apart from your competition for the very best staff.

It isn’t just about not losing talent that might go elsewhere, though. Having remote teams enables so many more people to remain in the world of work; new parents who don’t want to leave their young children at home, people with disabilities, or people living with illnesses which means that home is the best place for them. Staff who face barriers to employment are always grateful for companies who will go out of their way to accommodate them.

Sharon Koifman, DistantJob’s President, sums up three (of many) benefits of hiring remote talent:

4. Reduced Costs

The money-minded among you will have already noticed that each of those points raised above has a financial benefit for your company. Your teams produce more, they’re present more often, and you’re less likely to have to meet the costs of replacing them – that’s all good news for the bottom line.

But that isn’t where it stops. Real Estate costs are a significant burden on many companies, and if you find yourself needed to expand quickly, the lack of bricks and mortar premises can bring delays. The same isn’t true if your team is working remotely. You’ll notice that many companies are using remote workers to scale quickly, and some of the brightest new stars have fully remote teams.

Measuring coins and money

5. Our Favorite: Increased Diversity

When you open your team up to staff from around the world, of different ages, abilities, and cultures then you start to see the benefits of diversity. If you’re not already familiar with those, they include increased creativity, productivity (again!), engagement and insight. Your company also sees a boost in reputation, as your team and the products it creates, incorporates the views and ideas of a wider array of people.

6. The Very Best Software Engineer Talent

Hiring has, traditionally, relied on your company trying to find the right software engineers either within commuting distance of your business, or amongst those willing to relocate to your area. That’s lead to clusters of very talented people in certain areas of the world, like Silicon Valley, for example. But what if you’re not based in that area? Are you supposed to just put up with the best that is willing to work in your location?

Of course not. This is, in our opinion, the single most important benefit of remote working. You no longer have to put your metaphorical worm on a hook and throw out your line; now you can cast a wide net. We know, because we work with developers all day, that there is a vast ocean of talent out there.

This is where we come in. Think of us as just the right bait, or maybe we’re giving you a map of the fishing waters; either way, if you need to hire a remote software developer just let us know. We’ll take the time to get to know your company as well as all the technical details you’re looking for in your new hire. Then we’ll create a shortlist of candidates, all pre-screened, for you to choose from. You could have your new hire on board in under two weeks.

If you’re still not sure where you stand on the remote vs in-office software engineer question, then get in touch today and we’ll do our best to help you out.

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Sarah Dixon

Sarah Dixon

Sarah Dixon is a remote work advocate and thought leader and a specialist in persuasive writing. She has an MA in Creative Fiction, is a children's author, and a writer of award-winning short stories.